Three Kentucky Derbies for clean water

Three Kentucky Derbies for clean water | World Vision Blog

4-year-old Terendash gets a chance to ride a horse outside his family's Ger in Mongolia. (Photo: ©2015 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

At the Kentucky Derby on May 6, 3-year-old thoroughbred horses will race for 10 furlongs. Also on May 6, people will come together worldwide to walk or run 30 furlongs—three Kentucky Derbies—for clean water.

David Henriksen, CEO of iDisciple, grew up in Kentucky, but this year will be spending his first Saturday in May a little differently.

Which race will you be part of on May 6?


May 6 is the first Saturday in May. It is a huge day. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and those of us from the Bluegrass State know the first Saturday in May as “The Fastest 2 Minutes in Sports” or the “Run for the Roses.” The first Saturday in May is when the world’s best 3-year-old thoroughbred horses line up to run a mile and a quarter at the famous Kentucky Derby.

Horse races are measured in furlongs—with a furlong measuring 1/8 of a mile. So that makes the Kentucky Derby 10 furlongs, one of the longest races of the year. The owner of the winning horse takes home $1.24 million in prize money.

The people who participate in the Kentucky Derby might be considered the “Who’s Who” of horse racing—trainers, jockeys, breeders, and owners—and those who attend are usually famous actors, politicians, sports personalities, business leaders, musicians, and other celebrities. A spectators’ box for viewing the race costs about $1,000 per person, and the Kentucky Derby boasts the second highest ticket price on the resale market, second only to the Super Bowl. About 150,000 people watch the race in person, with millions watching on live television.

Three Kentucky Derbies for clean water | World Vision Blog
Horses being herded after sunset by motorbike and horseback riders in Mongolia. (Photo: ©2015 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)


I must confess that I have never been to the Kentucky Derby, but I love the spectacle and the pageantry of the race. Each year when spring rolls around, I ponder if this will be the year that I get to experience the wonder and majesty of the world’s greatest horse race.

But this year … I won’t be doing any pondering. This year on the first Saturday in May, I am busy. Thanks to my good friends at World Vision, there is another race on May 6. The Global 6K for Water. There are no tickets to buy, no television spectacle, no million-dollar winner’s purse. I am from Kentucky, but dare I say, the Global 6K for Water is much more significant.

The Global 6K for Water is held at hundreds of host sites all over the world, and the cause is to raise money and awareness for the problem of no access to clean water that exists for millions of people today. You may ask why 6 kilometers? World Vision will tell you that 6 kilometers is the average distance that people in the developing world walk on a daily basis to gather water.

Six kilometers. That’s just over 3.7 miles or about 30 furlongs—three Kentucky Derbies.

World Vision will also tell you that, in many cases, that water is contaminated with life-threatening diseases. Here’s another sobering data point: nearly 1,000 children die each day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, or improper hygiene. That’s quite a bit different than walking a few steps for filtered water every hour.

It’s not even comparable.

So what are you doing on May 6? How about becoming a member of the “Who’s Who” of walkers and runners who will simulate the average distance traveled for water each day in the developing world? If you can’t be a participant … how about being a spectator? You could sponsor a walker/runner or sponsor a child through World Vision. You could become an ambassador of clean water or a famous celebrity to your sponsored child. For more information, go to:

Three Kentucky Derbies for clean water | World Vision Blog
Men on horseback at a water borehole in Ethiopia. (Photo: ©2015 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)


This year on the first Saturday in May, I will forgo watching the Fastest 2 Minutes in Sports. I will participate in a much more important race that will help bring awareness and funding to an area of critical need.

It costs about $1,000 to watch the Kentucky Derby from a box seat—that’s 278 people that could have access to clean water.

The price of a scalped ticket—that’s 2,583 people.

The winner’s purse from the Run for the Roses would provide clean water to over 344,000 people!

These are real people that would no longer have to walk 6 kilometers for dirty water each and every day.

About 16 million people watch the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. Let’s get 16 million people to band together to help eliminate the problem of access to clean water around the world. Instead of the fastest two minutes in sports, we’d be the fastest to get nearly a quarter of a billion people the water they need to lead healthy lives.

What are you doing on May 6? Come on … let’s race!

When you walk or run our Global 6K for Water, every step you take is one that children around the world don’t have to! End their walk by signing up for yours today.

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